Team Iowa Headed To National Tournament In Kansas City
By Chelsi McDonald, TV9 Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Team Iowa is composed of the most talented football athletes from eastern and central Iowa. They've already beaten Team Wisconsin and Team Minnesota. This weekend, they are headed to Smithville High School in Kansas City to take on Team Texas in the Football University (FBU) National Tournament.
"To win. My mindset right now is to win. We could be playing the Detroit Lions or the New England Patriots, I don't care. What we are focused on is us. We did play well last weekend, but the tape never lies, we did make some mistakes. Our success is going to not depend on who we take the field against, but if we can correct those mistakes," says head coach Tyler Blum.
Blum, former University of Iowa defensive lineman, isn't coaching high school athletes. They are in the 7th grade, but they conduct practice as if the students were in college.
Tyler Beardsley from Parkview Middle School in Ankeny, Iowa says, "It's kind of like college, like how I always thought college would be. We sat down in a room and talked about their defensive line, then we (offense) came out and the defense came in and talked about their offense and how they were like, so we got prepared knowing how they were going to be like."
"They are practicing like a college team practice. We are flying around every minute that's scheduled. Everyone needs to be running around somewhere to have something to do. If they aren't moving as fast as we need them to, we let them know. This is something to get them ready for the next level," says Blum.
Coach Blum recruited 31 athletes on his 7th grade team, and if they win in the third round on Saturday, they will play in the fourth round against Witchita, Kansas or NW Louisiana on Sunday. If they come out on top this weekend, they will advance to the final four in the semifinals in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on January 4th and 6th. This year's FBU National Championship is the largest youth football tournament ever. There are 64 teams nationwide participating.
There are 6th and 8th grade divisions who represent Team Iowa, as well. Each team played in the first and second round in West Des Moines Valley Stadium this past weekend, and all teams are 2-0. The 6th and 8th grade teams will also be competing in Kansas City this weekend.